EILEEN A. KATZ
To the Editor:
As a constant observer of the meetings of the Princeton Recreation Board over the past ten years I believe that Princeton residents should be made aware of what it takes to get any program running. Months or even years of planning are essential prior to the opening of new parks and the operation of summer camps, basketball, soccer, baseball, swimming, and other activities. Thus when the Princeton Rep Shakespeare Festival wanted to use the arena in Community Park North, it took prolonged discussion and planning to make it possible. Each year meetings were held and contract negotiations offered, but the Rep group was rarely available and often failed to meet deadlines. A contract was offered last year but was not discussed until late spring, by which time other plans had been made for the facility.
My impression of the Rep group was that they may have excellent actors but they badly need a business head to realize deadlines. They have an unreasonable idea of entitlement; they feel they should have the arena they want and that no one else should share it. They also expect the community to underwrite their efforts.
I note that other activities offered by the Recreation Department are supported by users as well as taxpayers, and that responsible leaders in many other programs work with the Department cooperatively. It seems obvious the Rep programs can be done, but should be done meeting the constraints and time limits responsibly. That the Rep Shakespeare Festival is not being offered this year is definitely not the fault of the municipalities.
To the Editor:
Kudos to County Executive Brian Hughes for his conservation efforts at Stony Brook (Town Topics photo caption, August 17).
This leads me to hope that he will rethink his intention to allow Lawrence Township to chip away at the county-owned "Pole Farm," and turn a 35-acre corner into ball fields or a sports complex.
It would be a serious loss of county property and a dangerous precedent.
For decades, AT&T had broadcast overseas from an array of very tall poles on part of this corporate-owned, 812-acre tract, and allowed nearby farmers to use the remainder. In 1995, the poles long gone, the county purchased the land with both county and state Green Acres funds, and incorporated this "Pole Farm" into the large, newly-named Mercer County Park Northwest, which also includes the existing Rosedale Park, the Equestrian Center, Curlis Lake Woods, etc.
Purchase of the farm by the county was originally intended for active recreation, and perhaps even a Lawrence Township school. The school plan, however, was defeated by Lawrence voters, and as more and more people had a chance to visit the Pole Farm, public opinion coalesced in favor of preserving this land as the peaceful mix of meadow and woods that it is. In public hearings and in a 1999 survey, county residents told the county administration that they wanted the Pole Farm to be preserved as a wildlife area and as a reminder of the rural Mercer County of 50 years ago, and not to be used for active recreation.
Recently, a representative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture called the Pole Farm one of the best preserves for grassland wildlife in New Jersey, and said that we were very lucky to have acquired the land in its present state. Unfortunately, Lawrence Township, in which half the Pole Farm sits (the other half is in Hopewell), wants to take over a 35-acre cornfield in a corner of the park for ball fields, and wants to displace the current farmer elsewhere, thereby taking another 35 acres, i.e., 70 of the total 812 acres.
Many of us who appreciate the athletic programs in our townships endorse athletic facilities. Nevertheless, we want the playing fields to be located near schools, or near existing parking, and we want to keep the current cornfield, and the Pole Farm boundary intact.
It is worth every effort to preserve Mercer County's diminishing remnant of agricultural and rural character. If additional ball fields are necessary, they should not be sited on preserved land or land that is currently being farmed. Mr. Hughes no doubt has very generous intentions in providing athletic facilities for young people. However, we in Mercer County will better serve our children if we leave them this small bit of rural countryside, and find playing fields for them elsewhere in the townships.
This is an important issue for the entire county. The next two freeholder meetings, September 6 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the county administration building, will decide the matter. It is important for county residents who want to preserve the entire park to let the seven freeholders know their opinions, at the meetings if possible or before that by mail or phone. After these meetings, it might be too late.
EILEEN A. KATZ
To the Editor:
I believe that a phrase used in your column about the opening of the Inn at Glencairn (Topics of the Town, August 17) takes the Princeton-centric perspective of your publication to hitherto unattained heights. To say that Janet Cochoff Pressel's historic gem of an inn is located "... on the outskirts of Princeton" is an affront to the inhabitants of said outskirt, better know to the locals as Lawrenceville.
It's a shame that you've apparently never ventured beyond your southern border. If you did, you'd find a wonderful, vibrant community with excellent housing stock, fine dining, outstanding educational institutions, and our newest addition, the Inn at Glencairn. Ms. Pressel should do well here; I understand that parents visiting students at a certain university on the northern outskirts of Lawrenceville are often in need of first-class accommodations.
Editor's Note: The imprecise description of the Inn at Glencairn's location to which the writer objects should have been caught by the editors, all of whom live on the outskirts of Lawrenceville.
To the Editor:
Decision-makers in Princeton should do all they can to help stores like Shop the World thrive and remain in town. Most people dislike the apparent trend of large chain stores taking over our towns, making one shopping experience the same as another.
Shop the World, on the other hand, is a fair trade store that carries unique, often one-of-a-kind gifts hand made by villagers and crafts people in developing countries. Stores like Shop the World provide vital income to these people and help them feed their families.
I think the Princeton Public Library plaza would be a much more interesting and enjoyable place if it were ringed by interesting stores like Shop the World. Constructing a fence or other obstacle would make the plaza feel less friendly and look much uglier.
Please do not block access to Shop the World from the Princeton Public Library plaza.
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